The longer Flyers goaltender Steve Mason (whiplash/upper body injury) remains unfit to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the more general manager Paul Holmgren and the Philadelphia front office should be patting themselves on the back for bringing in a dependable, veteran secondary option in Ray Emery.
Ray Emery starts game 3. Steve Mason not ready to backup
— John Clark CSN (@JClarkCSN) April 21, 2014
Mason, who was knocked out of the second-to-last game of the regular season after a collision in his net, has yet to take the ice for the Flyers in their opening round series against the New York Rangers. In his place, the 31-year old Emery has performed admirably stopping 63 of a possible 69 shots including a 31-save showing at Madison Square Garden in Sunday’s game two victory. One has to wonder if the organization would have tried to hurry along Mason’s recovery process had the Flyers fallen into a 0-2 hole, but their victory over the weekend highlighted by a strong performance in net has the team much more comfortable with Emery getting the nod.
Admittedly, Emery leaves some to be desired in terms of side-to-side mobility but is up to the task when the Flyers play a more responsible style in their defensive end. In the midst of the team’s four-unanswered goal comeback in New York, Emery held the buzzing Blue Shirts at bay, often times in spectacular fashion. Though he does not have the athleticism and puck-handling ability that Mason possesses, Emery has substantial playoff experience and, as a longtime starter himself, will probably benefit more from increased reps in a consistent basis. Coach Craig Berube gave Emery starts in some of the team’s most important games down the home stretch of the regular season. Though some would have argued that riding Mason into the playoffs and having the younger goalie enter the postseason on a hot streak, Berube’s alternating approach appears to be paying off, though not under ideal circumstances.
Game three is on Tuesday night in Philadelphia as the Flyers look to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.